Various education specialists spoke at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, as part of the final meeting in a series of Regional Consultative Assemblies organized in 2017 by theEducation Relief Foundation (ERF), Globethics.net and the University of Geneva. A framework for reforming school systems around the world based on a balanced and inclusive education model was agreed.
"The unity and diversity of human beings must be recognized in education". Edgar Morin, French philosopher and sociologist
Edgar Morin, who holds the UNESCO Chair in Complex Thinking and is considered the founder of transdisciplinarity, said that education had so far failed to help students understand their own humanity, and to teach them to cope with uncertainty. Morin called for greater links to be forged between the different disciplines involved in education, and added that despite the increasingly widespread presence of communication tools such as the Internet, education had made no progress when it came to teaching students how to understand other cultures.
In his opening remarks, ERF member Jack Lang, former Minister of Culture, former Minister of Education and President of the Institut du Monde Arabe, asserted that "to succeed in educational reform, it is essential to develop a guide that serves as a foundation, without which educational reform could be meaningless".
Professor Abdeljalil Akkari, a member of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences and of the International and Comparative Education Research Team at the University of Geneva, added: "Many people do not see school as an institution that is intended for them and formed by them. ERF is important because it asks what kind of impact education can have on communities in the North and South".
"We absolutely must abandon the imperialist, industrialist model of education as a universal approach." Shaikh Manssour Bin Mussallam, Chairman and Founder, ERF
The President and Founder of theEducation Relief Forum referred to the Regional Assemblies in Bangkok, Nigeria and Panama City, which throughout 2017 highlighted the need to reorganize education. He asserted, "we need to examine our respective histories to lift the veil on what our civilizations and histories owe each other."
Creating a Guide to Balanced and Inclusive Education
The briefs and reports produced after the Regional Assemblies of the ERF and its partners form the basis of the recommendations made to the Geneva Assembly. The recommendations will be presented to the ERF by a Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG), in collaboration with UNESCO's International Bureau of Education (IBE) and other partners, with a view to creating a Guide to the development of a Code of Ethics on Balanced and Inclusive Education.
Referring to previous ERF Assemblies, Bin Mussallam asserted, "If the 2017 ERF Regional Stakeholder Assemblies have demonstrated one thing, it's that the education models still held up as examples such as the Scandinavian and Singapore models are not equipped to deal with the diversity and challenges facing countries in the globalized South, nor with the increasing interactions between countries in the globalized South and countries in the globalized North." ERF plans to convene a Stakeholder Assembly in 2018, at which it will present this Guide on Balanced and Inclusive education.
Achieving MDG 4
The overall aim is to develop strategies to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal number four on inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Organizations adopting the framework include the Ministries of Education of Malaysia and Uganda, UNESCO's IBE in Geneva, the Union of University Social Responsibility for Latin America (URSULA), UNESCO Bangkok and the African Heritage School in Benin.
TheEducation Relief Foundation (ERF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization registered in Geneva. It aims to develop and promote a new approach to education that emphasizes the importance of balance and inclusiveness in the curriculum offered to young people. Its work is based on four pillars: intraculturalism, transdisciplinarity, dialecticism and contextuality.